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Amazon’s long-rumored set-top box could be closer than you think.

Amazon is reportedly planning to launch the device at some point next month, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The media device has been rumored since last year, and for Amazon, which hosts a streaming video service of its own through its premium Prime service, it has seemed inevitable. Amazon offers apps for Roku’s devices, smart TVs, and other gadgets with media apps, but it hasn’t had control over an entire device, like Apple does with the Apple TV.

One consequence of Amazon’s lack of control is the way its apps work: You typically can’t rent or buy movies via Amazon’s video apps. Instead you have to go to Amazon’s website on another device to make those sorts of purchases.

Amazon’s set-top box may resemble Google’s tiny USB stick-sized Chromecast, TechCrunch reported yesterday. Roku also launched a $50 media stick of its own earlier this month. Being smaller would allow Amazon to offer its device at a cheaper price than Apple’s $100 Apple TV.

Last week, we also reported on a possible wireless game controller for Amazon’s media box. While that controller looks ugly, if it’s real, it shows how important gaming would be to Amazon’s device. I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon offered something akin to OnLive, which let you play full PC games streamed over servers (which is something TechCrunch also hints at).


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